(CNN)Labor Secretary Marty Walsh met with companies on Friday to discuss how the private sector can improve job quality, as a record number of employees in the United States are quitting their jobs largely in search for better opportunities.
Walsh met with a handful of companies across different industries to highlight how they are creating jobs and sustaining their workforce through investment in training, higher wages, benefits and flexibility, according to the Department of Labor.
Friday’s panel included representatives from the American Sustainable Business Network, global shipping company UPS and retailer Eileen Fisher, as well as the employee-owned energy company Sustainergy and BA Auto Care — a family-owned business in the mid-Atlantic.
The panel launched the private sector-focused work of the Biden administration’s “Good Jobs Initiative,” which is led by the Labor Department.
Speaking about the initiative in his opening remarks, Walsh compared its work to the work of other historic programs, like the New Deal, Social Security and unemployment insurance.
“This is an important conversation. Our workforce and our economy, certainly, had been through a historic disruption over the last two years due to the pandemic. Both workers and businesses are rebuilding and reevaluating,” Walsh said, later adding, “We’re experiencing a historic recovery and creating an economy in record numbers for people that left all the cities around America, urban and rural and suburban. People are coming back to work. People are looking for new opportunities. It’s making people reevaluate exactly where they were in their life and what opportunities are for them in the future.”
The initiative was started earlier this year to improve job quality and job access, establishing a broad framework across the federal government to inform workers of their rights — including their right to collectively bargain, engage employers in improving jobs to retain workers and deploy federal agencies to support the plan.
Walsh said in an earlier statement to CNN that the work of the initiative “speaks directly to what workers are telling us — that improving the quality of jobs is an economic imperative.”
“By directly engaging with businesses across all industries, we’re uplifting best practices to recruit and retain workers in the current labor market. Patterns of work in America are changing, and the Department of Labor is here to support workers and companies through those changes,” he added.
Friday’s event took place after a strong March jobs report showed peop
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